Suzuki GB director of automobile Dale Wyatt has told car retailers that it is time to stop the back-slapping and start planning ahead with a “recessionary mindset” to succeed in a cost-of-living crisis.
Speaking to AM news and features editor Tom Sharpe for the latest episode of the AM News Show podcast, the brand leader aired his opposition to agency model retail, discussed Suzuki’s supply challenges and shared the thinking behind its new #GoodDifferent marketing campaign.
But after an intense period of meetings with franchisees about Suzuki GB’s priorities and brand values, he also asserted that retailers needed to execute a strict plan after the bust and boom period brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reflecting on the change that the pandemic had brought to the sector, Wyatt said: “We’ve all been able to spend more time at our homes with our families and we want more of it. And that has affected the way that dealers and employers and employees feel about work.
“The other thing was that we got lazy. We had a year of distorted profitability.
“I got tired of the number of people back-slapping and celebrating the great things that they were doing off the back of environmental change rather than the actions that they took.
“I wanted to say to our dealers 'if you’ve taken action and executed the plan brilliantly well done, but if you’ve done nothing and the marketed has lifted you up take a look at yourself because the tide’s turning'.”
He added: “It’s about reminding dealers about the need to have clean habits and doing the things they need to do to make themselves successful.”
Wyatt urged car retailers to implement a plan that would prepare them for the challenges ahead as consumer confidence looked to be increasingly hard-hit by inflation of around 10%.
“A lot of people they complain about the lack of success they have had from a plan they didn’t write,” he said. “I think its important that you actually develop a plan and execute it.
“It’s important in times of recission to be clear about what you value proposition is and why they should choose you.
“Thinking about how you appeal to a retailer with a recessionary mindset is one of the key ingredients.”
Earlier this week AM published another of the latest episodes of the AM News Show podcast, featuring Steven Eagell Group chief executive Steven Eagell.
In it, he discusses his role of ensuring the AM100 car retail group recruits “better than me” so it has the skill set to succeed.
Eagell also discussed the challenges of the transition to electric vehicles (EV), new car supply shortages and its strategy for further growth following its recent Inchcape Oxford Toyota dealership acquisition.
To view this and other episodes of the AM News Show podcast, which is produced in partnership with Armchair Marketing, click here.